Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: A Narrow Amendment With Broad Implications

The Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance and the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance took effect in July 2017. The language of each ordinance largely mirrors the other, and where an employer falls under the jurisdiction of both, the Cook County Interpretative and Procedural Rules provide that the Cook County Commission on Human Rights (the enforcement arm of Cook County) will defer to the jurisdiction of the City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (the enforcement arm of the City of Chicago). Effective July 1, 2020, the Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance is amended in a significant way.

State COVID-19 Orders Regulating Worker Safety—Are They Preempted?

Almost every state has issued closure orders designating certain businesses as “essential” and allowing them to continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some states have recently issued orders expressly or implicitly regulating the safety and health of workers at those essential businesses. Are some or all of the provisions in these orders preempted by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act)? It depends.

Court Halts Enforcement of Illinois’s New Workers’ Compensation Rule That Presumes COVID-19 Infections Are Work-Related

On April 13, 2020, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission established an emergency rule amending the Illinois Administrative Code for workers’ compensation hearings that creates a rebuttable evidentiary presumption for workers infected with COVID-19 who work in “critical” industries as defined in Governor J. B. Pritzker’s March 20, 2020, stay-at-home order, as well as those who are first responders.

Illinois Unemployment Benefits and COVID-19–Related Changes: What Employers Need to Know

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) and the federal government have made significant changes to the laws governing the availability of unemployment insurance benefits. These changes, which respond to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, expand eligibility and provide additional benefits to workers.

The Illinois Shutdown Order: Answers to Employers’ FAQs

On March 20, 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued Executive Order (EO) 2020-10, directing all residents to stay at home except as necessary for essential activities and government functions and to operate essential businesses. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the executive order and its impact on Illinois employers.

Tips for Shutting Down in Response to State Shelter-in-Place Orders

California, Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York have all issued statewide shelter-in-place orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and more states may follow. Employers that do not qualify for an exemption under the applicable state order or that decide to severely curtail or shut down operations may want to consider some of the following issues.

Illinois Governor Issues Statewide Shelter-in-Place Order

On March 20, 2020, Illinois joined California, New York, and Pennsylvania in issuing a sweeping closure order to contain the spread of COVID-19. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-10, Executive Order in Response to COVID-19 (COVID-19 Executive Order No. 8), directing “all individuals currently living within the State of Illinois . . . to stay at home” except as necessary for “Essential Activities, Essential Government Functions, or to operate Essential Businesses and Operations.”

The Who, What, and When on Illinois Employment Agreements Under the Workplace Transparency Act

The Illinois Workplace Transparency Act (WTA) (Public Act 101-0221) is designed to protect employees, consultants, and contractors who truthfully report alleged unlawful discrimination and harassment or criminal conduct in the workplace by prohibiting nonnegotiable confidentiality obligations, waivers, and mandatory arbitration of allegations of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.

The Who, What, and When on Illinois’s Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

Now a little more than one month into the new year, Illinois employers are under pressure to comply with several new laws increasing protections against discrimination and harassment. Among them, amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act require employers to provide sexual harassment prevention training before December 31, 2020, and each calendar year after that. New guidance published January 31, 2020, by the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) clarifies key aspects of the new law.

New Year, New Minimum Rates: State-by-State Minimum Wage Updates for 2020

In 2020, a number of states’ minimum wage rates will increase. The following chart lists the states’ (and certain major localities’) minimum wage increases for 2020—and future years if available—along with the related changes in the maximum tip credit and minimum cash wage for tipped employees. The federal minimum wage will remain at $7.25 per

Illinois Governor Signs Employer-Friendly Amendments to Recreational Marijuana Law

In order to address employer concerns regarding the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, the Illinois General Assembly amended the Act via a trailer bill, Senate Bill 1557, during the fall legislative session. On December 4, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed the legislation into law as Public Act 101-0593. The changes took effect with the governor’s signature.

The Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act: Privacy Implications of Illinois’s AI Statute

It’s time for employers to start preparing for legislation recently signed into law in Illinois, the Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act. The new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2020, regulates Illinois employers’ use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the interview and hiring process.

Illinois Can See Clearly Now: State Legislates Workplace Transparency

Our June  2019 article “discussed four new bills targeting equity, transparency, and discrimination, including the Workplace Transparency Act (WTA), which was awaiting the signature of Governor J.B. Pritzker. As expected, Governor Pritzker signed Senate Bill 75—a sweeping piece of legislation that places new restrictions on Illinois employers and is designed to prevent harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

ADA Litigation Lessons Surfaced From a Zamboni Machine

Employers, you see this movie all too often. You tolerate, and then ultimately discharge, a poor-performing employee who displays a bad attitude. Unfortunately, supervisors have not documented the employee’s prior instances of insubordinate and adversarial behavior. In addition, he hurt himself on the job, filed a workers’ compensation claim, and presented medical restrictions. In his mind, he cannot believe that he was the problem. So he sues, alleging that you failed to accommodate his disability and unlawfully terminated his employment.

Chicago City Council Passes Sweeping Scheduling Ordinance

On July 24, 2019, the Chicago City Council passed the most sweeping predictive scheduling ordinance in the country to date. Effective July 1, 2020 (January 1, 2021, for “safety-net” hospitals), the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance will require 10 days’ advance notice of work schedules for certain workers in the building services, healthcare, hotel, manufacturing, restaurant, retail, and warehouse services industries.

Seventh Circuit Holds That Obesity Alone Is Not a Protected Disability Under the ADA

In a matter of first impression before the court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently held in Richardson v. Chicago Transit Authority, Nos. 17-3508 and 18-2199 (June 12, 2019), that obesity is not a protected disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) unless a plaintiff can demonstrate that it is caused by an underlying physiological disorder or condition. With the decision, the Seventh Circuit brought clarity to a novel issue previously unresolved for employers in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

Construction One-Minute Read: Illinois Fails to Make General Contractors Responsible for All Wages on Private Projects

The big legislative news in Illinois this spring concerned the passage of a law permitting marijuana for recreational use, beginning January 1, 2020. This development overshadowed other news affecting the construction industry—most notably, a failed attempt to make general contractors on every private project responsible for all unpaid wages to all workers.

Keeping an Eye on Artificial Intelligence Regulation and Legislation

More and more organizations are beginning to use or expand their use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools and services in the workplace. Despite AI’s proven potential for enhancing efficiency and decision-making, it has raised a host of issues in the workplace which, in turn, have prompted an array of federal and state regulatory efforts that are likely to increase in the near future.

Legalized Cannabis in Illinois: What Employers Need to Know

On May 29, 2019, the Illinois Senate passed Illinois House Bill (HB) 1438, which will legalize recreational marijuana in the state. This bill, known as the “Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act,” is expected to be signed into law by Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker, since he campaigned for office on a promise to legalize recreational marijuana.

#MeToo-Inspired Laws Hit the Midwest: Illinois Passes Anti-harassment, Pay Equity, and Board Diversity Legislation

After ending 2018 with a slew of new employment laws, Illinois continues to enact legislation impacting employers. Following the example set by California, Washington, and other states recently, the Illinois legislature passed four new bills targeting equity, transparency, and discrimination last week, and Governor J. B. Pritzker is expected to sign them into law.

Share and Share Alike: Sharing Essential Job Functions May Qualify as a Reasonable Accommodation

On April 1, 2019, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied summary judgment in an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) case, determining that occasionally excusing employees from performing certain job functions does not render the function nonessential and finding that sharing tasks may be a reasonable accommodation.